Alice in Chains’ music comes from a dark place. Plagued by drug addiction and tormented childhoods, a morbid fascination with death has followed them throughout their careers and, at least twice, it’s caught up with them.
Once hailed as the new Black Sabbath because of guitars with tones as low as basses and basses with tones as low as coffins lain in catacombs, Alice In Chains created nightmares bands like Cradle of Filth could only wake up screaming from. Whereas most metal bands (yes Alice In Chains are a metal band, they have never identified themselves as being part of the Alt scene) find inspiration in the fantasy of storybooks and fairy tales, Alice in Chains find it in the real horror of an existence woven with tragedy.
Stone sounds like it has been unearthed, risen up from a place murky, dank, and isolated; it’s an evil that you can nod your head too. Sinister, moody and grinning with a sadistic glee, like the best AIC songs it conjures grey skies and rain, crawls on its belly in the mud and predicts a sorrow soaked doom with minor chords.
Misery can be beautiful, and Alice in Chains continues to prove this overlooked truth after 25 years of using guitars to write obituaries for absent friends. It’s just a pity that people have suffered so much to make music this good.